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View Full Version : Can this man save the world?


mrpayroll
09-20-05, 11:25 AM
http://www.canada.com/montreal/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=cfeb17de-d945-4db4-87a6-090911200e96&page=1

Everyone wants to cut car emissions. Sooner or later, someone will find a way to do it. Joe Williams hopes it's him.

WILLIAM MARSDEN
The Gazette


Saturday, September 17, 2005


http://a123.g.akamai.net/f/123/12465/1d/media.canada.com/idl/mtgz/20050917/206752-68586.jpg

CREDIT: JOHN MAHONEY, THE GAZETTE
Peter Romaniuk of Innovative Hydrogen Solutions looks over his company's machine, which the company claims eliminates almost all emissions from gasoline-powered vehicles. The company says it is developing a version of the machine that will be one-eighth the size of the current prototype and that should be ready by next year.


Joe Williams Sr. believes he has the machine that will help save the world. It will make the sky blue, allow everyone to breathe easier, and, in a time of skyrocketing fuel prices, save us all money.

Yes, it's hard to believe. Williams is a Winnipeg boy who cut his business teeth managing McDonald's and Burger King franchises. Even now, he employs only 15 people in his Toronto and Manitoba offices. He entered this save-the-world field only 11 years ago and has invested just $7.5 million in his product.

But before you sniff skeptically and skip to the next story, read on.

Because if Joe Williams turns out to be right, "I think Bill Gates and our group will be shaking hands," he says. "It's that big."

"It" is his Hydrogen Generating Module, or H2N-Gen for short.

Smaller than a DVD player - small enough to sit comfortably under the hood of any truck or car - it could be big enough to solve the world's greenhouse gas emission problems, at least for the near future. In fact, it could make the Kyoto protocol obsolete. Basically, the H2N-Gen contains a small reservoir of distilled water and other chemicals such as potassium hydroxide. A current is run from the car battery through the liquid. This process of electrolysis creates hydrogen and oxygen gases which are then fed into the engine's intake manifold where they mix with the gasoline vapours.

It's a scientific fact that adding hydrogen to a combustion chamber will cause a cleaner burn. The challenge has always been to find a way to get the hydrogen gas into the combustion chamber in a safe, reliable and cost-effective way.

Williams claims he has achieved this with his H2N-Gen. His product, he said, produces a more complete burn, greatly increasing efficiency and reducing fuel consumption by 10 to 40 per cent - and pollutants by up to 100 per cent.

Most internal combustion engines operate at about 35 per cent efficiency. This means that only 35 per cent of the fuel is fully burned. The rest either turns to carbon corroding the engine or goes out the exhaust pipe as greenhouse gases.

The H2N-Gen increases burn efficiency to at least 97 per cent, Williams said. This saves fuel and greatly reduces emissions.

It also means less engine maintenance and oil changes. The only thing the vehicle owner has to do is refill the unit with distilled water once every 80 hours of engine use.

Tests show the unit itself should lasts for at least 10 years, Williams said.

It can be attached to any kind of internal combustion engine: diesel, gasoline, propane/natural gas.

Also, because the H2N-Gen manufactures only enough hydrogen to feed the engine at a given time, there is no dangerous onboard storage of hydrogen gas and no hydrogen under pressure.

Williams said his product, if it works as well as he claims, will serve as a bridge between the present and the time when the combustion engine is relegated to the scrap heap of history. The preferred interim solution has been gasoline-electric hybrid cars, which remain expensive.

But Williams doesn't want you to take just his word for it.

The H2N-Gen recently went through third-party verification -- known as "proof of concept" - at Wardrop Engineering Inc. of Toronto, specialists in product testing and development. The company built its own prototype according to Williams's design and tested it against Williams's claims. It passed with flying colours.

In fact, Wardrop liked the invention so much the company wants to become an equity partner in Williams's company, Innovative Hydrogen Solutions, said Richard Scheps, Wardrop's product development manager and a co-owner of the engineering firm, which employs 600 people.

"At the time we first saw it, it seemed too good to be true," Scheps said. "But for everything we're seeing it seems really good. It does work. So we're moving into phase two. Refinements and further testing."

He cautions that it's "only a go when everything is finished." But if all goes smoothly, he said, it could be out on the market in six to 12 months.

Further tests are now being performed by the Canadian Environmental Technology Verification (ETV), a non-profit Toronto company licensed by the federal government to verify environmental technology. Williams doesn't have to have ETV approval for his unit. But he said that he is not going to market without it.

"I think it has a high potential to do what they say or think it will," said Adele Buckley, vice-president of technology and research.

"On the basis of what we have seen from other situations, it looks likely, but we will wait until we get the data."

Williams never doubted that his H2N-Gen would work. He said his company has "over 80 million miles of real experience of onroad verification of the machine in all four seasons."

His first target would be heavy vehicle fleets such as public transit buses, trucks and trains because they are the biggest fuel users and their engines are the biggest polluters.

"We're marketing a 20-pound unit for $7,500," Williams predicted. "That's the maximum price that it will be. The average truck out there today will get their money back in eight months at the latest. CN (Canadian National) spends $11 billion a year on fuel and we can save them minimum a guarantee of 10 per cent, $1.1 billion a year."

And that's where things would get financially interesting. In fact, they become financially astronomically interesting. There are, after all, more than one billion combustion engines on earth. Just a fraction of that business would make him a very rich man.

Williams doesn't want to make money just through selling H2N-Gen units. He has his eye on getting a share of the fuel savings.

In other words, he would hope to install the H2N-Gen unit in, say, every Canadian National railway and truck engine for free in return for a percentage of CN's fuel savings.

Furthermore, he would hope to get his hands on carbon credits promised by the Kyoto Protocol. The trade in carbon credits is predicted to be a multi-billion-dollar business as countries attempt to meet their 2012 obligations of cutting greenhouse gases to below 1990 levels. Those who fail to make the cuts will be fined or will have to buy credits from companies that have cut well below the agreed levels.

"Credits are a huge bonus," Williams said. He figures his company could make billions trading them.

Williams's entry into the hydrogen field came 11 years ago when he was running his own management consultant firm in Winnipeg.

"It was a friend introducing me to a friend, saying you got to meet this guy," Williams said.

This guy was an environmentalist and inventor named Gene Stowe, from Tempe, Ariz. Stowe had developed a plastic cylinder that produced hydrogen and oxygen through electrolysis on demand only when a fuel engine was running.

Stowe's hydrogen-producing cylinder was "very rudimentary." Among its many problems was a nasty habit of blowing up.

"They had a lot of UFO sightings around the area because whenever his cylinder blew it sent a disc flying 200 to 300 feet into the air," Williams said, chuckling.

Stowe died six months after their meeting. Williams was intrigued enough by that time to try to take the idea to the next level.

Unlike large companies such as Ballard Power Systems of Vancouver, which has spent billions in public and private money trying to develop fuel-saving and emissions-reducing technologies with modest success - including trying to build a low-cost and safe hydrogen-powered electric engine - Williams said that so far he has spent slightly more than $7.5 million. He raised money from a private investment fund in western Canada and from the Wealth Masters International, a private fund in Toronto. No government money has gone into his company.

He's not the only one trying to save the world, and to make a bundle doing it. Other companies have been working on the same theory of hydrogen generation and they are already suing each other over patent infringements.

A Toronto company called Hy-Drive Technologies Ltd., for instance, is suing a Winnipeg competitor called Canadian Hydrogen Energy Corporation over alleged patent infringements and a non-disclosure agreement. Williams is named in the lawsuit since he was a part-owner of CHEC until disagreements led him to leave and form Innovative Hydrogen Solutions.

Hy-Drive last year started marketing a hydrogen generator for trucks. Company president Tom Brown claims to be well ahead of Williams, who he said is little more than a "snake oil salesman."

Williams, for his part, said he has never even met Brown.

It must be noted that when Brown's company hit the Toronto venture exchange last year and began selling its units, it was soon discovered that the product was not reliable. After selling only 55 units at $11,500 a piece, Brown had to take the product off the market. The company's stock is trading at around 78 cents.

Brown said an updated version of his hydrogen generator has rectified reliability problems, but it's not yet on the market. Hy-Drive's unit still weighs about 70 pounds, and at more than 4,000 cubic inches, is much too big to fit into an engine compartment. Truckers have to secure it to the side of their cabs.

But Brown said his company has teamed with Martinrea, a Canadian auto parts manufacturer started three years ago by former executives of the giant Magna Corp., to work on a smaller unit.

Still, it seems that Williams's company is ahead in the game - though, as he notes, the market potential of this technology would be so huge "even 12 competitors could not serve it."

The Gazette drove a 2000 six-cylinder Jeep Grand Cherokee equipped with an H2N-Gen prototype from Montreal to Cornwall and back. We set the cruise control at 102 kilometres per hour. The trip computer indicated that on the highway the car averaged about nine litres per 100 kilometres, which is more than 10 per cent below the manufacturer's mileage rating of 10.5. The combined city/highway mileage was slightly more than 11; the car is rated at 12.9.

We also tested the Jeep SUV at one of Ontario's Drive Clean emissions inspection centres. The car's emissions were well below the manufacturer's ratings. For instance, on carbon monoxide, Daimler/Chrysler gives a rating of 5.5 grams per mile for this model of car. The Drive Clean rating for the Jeep was zero.

Ontario's Drive Clean testing has been disparaged by the Automobile Protection Association as inaccurate. So neither of our tests - the mileage and the emissions - can be considered scientific. But anecdotally, the H2N-Gen passed.

What's more, even after the hour-long drive from Montreal, the tailpipe was not hot. In fact, we could wrap our hand around it without getting burned. Williams claims this proves that hot polluting emissions are not coming out of the tailpipe.

Confident that the ETV will approve the H2N-Gen, Wardrop's engineers are designing a streamlined module for the marketplace. "We're working on a prototype that will be one eighth the size (of his present unit) to be used in cars," he said. "That should be ready by next year."

When everything falls in place, he's confident his tiny patented machine will have a huge world-wide impact. Then he'll be well on his way to meeting Bill Gates at the top of the Fortune 500.

If it works.

wmarsden@thegazette.canwest.com

The Gazette (Montreal) 2005


Sorry, long read! But could this be the Holy Grail that we have all been looking for?

Chris

Minor Threat
09-20-05, 11:35 AM
What's more, even after the hour-long drive from Montreal, the tailpipe was not hot. In fact, we could wrap our mouth around it without getting burned.

:jawdrop:

Numanoid
09-20-05, 11:35 AM
The only thing the vehicle owner has to do is refill the unit with distilled water once every 80 hours of engine use.Forget it.

Bronkster
09-20-05, 11:36 AM
Wasn't it just reported that we're already past the point of no return and nothing we do can prevent global warming and stuff? Nice try anyway!!

;)

La Bella Rose
09-20-05, 11:38 AM
Save the world, no...

Help it, yes...

Static_Rainbow
09-20-05, 11:43 AM
Save the world, no...

Help it, yes...

I agree this world has been way to uncared for and it's a bit late for that (to be saved), all we can do is try to help it.

Lemdog
09-20-05, 11:46 AM
Hell if it really works in the real world then I'm all for it.

Mordred
09-20-05, 11:46 AM
Stowe died six months after their meeting. Williams was intrigued enough by that time to try to take the idea to the next level.Williams obviously murdered him for his invention.

Seriously though, sounds like a pretty genius solution even with only a 10% fuel efficiency increase.

talemyn
09-20-05, 11:51 AM
Count me in . . .

scottall
09-20-05, 12:16 PM
Joe Williams just made the OPEC hitlist.

OldDude
09-20-05, 12:19 PM
Williams claims he has achieved this with his H2N-Gen. His product, he said, produces a more complete burn, greatly increasing efficiency and reducing fuel consumption by 10 to 40 per cent - and pollutants by up to 100 per cent.

Most internal combustion engines operate at about 35 per cent efficiency. This means that only 35 per cent of the fuel is fully burned. The rest either turns to carbon corroding the engine or goes out the exhaust pipe as greenhouse gases.

The H2N-Gen increases burn efficiency to at least 97 per cent, Williams said. This saves fuel and greatly reduces emissions.


This is one of the most technically ignorant few paragraphs I have ever read.

Feeding in hydrogen and oxygen might cause a cleaner burn (it might also cause more NOx). However, the car is generating the energy to perform the electrolysis of water, and it takes about twice the energy you will get back from burning the hydrogen and oxygen. Fuel economy will decrease, if this is being properly accounted for.

No thermal engine does better than about 35-40% extraction of mechanical work from the fuel; the rest is heat. That is about the peak for a car engine; it probably averages 15-20% over the drive cycle. However, the rest IS burned cleanly and wasted as heat.

Engines burn the fuel pretty cleanly. Clean combustion is CO2 and H2O. Unclean combustion is carbon monoxide and unburnt hydrocarbon. The allowable emissions of CO and HC are very small percentages of the fuel burned (and oxygen consumed). Still, you'd like the burn to be 100% clean, not 99% or whatever it is. The notion that 2/3 the fuel is unburnt is just bullshit. And the claimed fuel efficiency violates the Carnot cycle for the temperatures involved.

Do not invest in this quackery. Wait for it to save the earth and let others "get rich quick" by investing in this. Trust me, betting against the First Law is always a bad investment.

Supermallet
09-20-05, 12:19 PM
I've long been on board for hydrogen cars, and if GM were running for president under the banner of "Our Hydrogen Car Rocks!" I'd vote for them.

Read on:
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/10.08/fuelcellcars.html

OldDude
09-20-05, 12:31 PM
Fine. Where are you going to get twice as much as energy as cars need to make the hydrogen? (And if it's that easy to find extra energy, why does California have electricity shortages?)

kvrdave
09-20-05, 12:38 PM
Forget this, I put one of these on my car for only $19.99. Everyone knows this is the technology that has been supressed.

<img src=http://www.hlaimages2.com/prod_images/250/93931.jpg>

Groucho
09-20-05, 12:53 PM
I installed one of those things on my car. It pissed blood for a week, and then it died.

OldDude
09-20-05, 01:00 PM
Forget this, I put one of these on my car for only $19.99. Everyone knows this is the technology that has been supressed.

<img src=http://www.hlaimages2.com/prod_images/250/93931.jpg>

I hope you have an aluminum-block engine. You should NEVER use magnetically charged fuel with iron-block engines. It just sticks to the cylinder walls and won't burn for shit.

kvrdave
09-20-05, 01:02 PM
They've gotten to OldDude -ohbfrank-

OldDude
09-20-05, 01:04 PM
They've gotten to OldDude -ohbfrank-

:lol: I believe I was taking this thread too seriously.

mrpayroll
09-20-05, 01:08 PM
Leave it to OldDude to bring facts and logic into this thread and rain on everyones parade! -ohbfrank-

Chris :lol:

Duran
09-20-05, 01:11 PM
Engines burn the fuel pretty cleanly. Clean combustion is CO2 and H2O. Unclean combustion is carbon monoxide and unburnt hydrocarbon.


You beat me to this part. If you belive the global warming folks, CO2 is the primary greenhouse gas. 100% clean burning of a hydrocarbon yields CO2. How is that addressing the problem?

das Monkey
09-20-05, 01:24 PM
mrpayroll

CREDIT: JOHN MAHONEY, THE GAZETTE
http://www.americanprofile.com/issues/20010422/images/story_751_photo.jpg
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Should have saved some of those <i>Frazier</i> bucks, eh John?

das

tommy28
09-20-05, 02:15 PM
Save the world, no...

Help it, yes...

were all doomed anyway:(